Like DRM, only sinister-er?


I’ve been having conversations today about a ‘non-DRM solution’ to filesharing. This conversation comes up pretty regularly, actually. I’ve now been approached by no less than three companies that would like me to examine, and perhaps endorse their own system.

Each time, it involves watermarking files. The idea is that it is completely invisible (and inaudible) to the listener, but tracks where the mp3 (or some new proprietary audio file) comes from, and in most cases, information about the person who originally bought it.

I’m sorry, but no. That’s not a DRM-free system of anything. That’s Digital Rights Management by definition – only this time it uses surveillance, rather than the more clumsy and obvious ‘reach in and break your computer’ tactic of older TPM (technical protection measure) systems.

It’s just as bad. Probably much worse.


Coalition for Culture


I love the music business. I think musicians are great. I believe they do amazing things that are richly deserving of great rewards, the lot of them. I think it’s appropriate that everyone gets whatever they deserve. It’s a hard world, a hard way to make a living and times are tricky.

As I’ve often said, most musicians spend more time training for their career than most brain surgeons – and most of them end up earning less than most supermarket checkout operators. And that’s both significant and important.

But the establishment and announcement of the Featured Artists Coalition over this past week or so has made me a bit cross.


Free legal advice

I asked Stuart Price, intellectual property lawyer and Managing Director of Birmingham’s Young & Lee Solicitors for his top 5 tips for independent music business. These are some pretty good guidelines that might end up saving you thousands one day.